Air quality planning for Durban, South Africa

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NILU has designed a programme to improve and update the monitoring and to assess the air quality for South Durban Basin. A planning tool for improving the air quality is currently under establishment.

The programme will integrate emission inventories, ambient air quality measurements, a quality assurance (QA/QC) programme, data acquisition, data storage as well as modelling and impact assessment procedures utilizing all data and systems that are already operating in the region. The development includes a capacity building programme. NILU’s own in-house developed price-winning computer solution - AirQUIS - is the core of the programme.

The funding for the project is provided by The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). NORAD’s general purpose is to assist developing countries in their efforts to achieve lasting improvements in political, economic and social conditions for the entire population within the limits imposed by the natural environment and the natural resource base.

Air quality planning for Durban, South Africa
The project was originally presented in Durban on 22 January, during the visit by the Norwegian Minister of Environment Mr. Børge Brende. A kick-off seminar was then held in Durban in February 2003. Scientists from NILU, Svein Knudsen and Hildegunn B. Jablonska, has visited the South Durban several times since then. The first meeting for the health study was held in August while the training in modelling of Air Quality took place in October.

Improving air quality

The objective of the Air Quality Management System (AQMS) is to improve air quality so that the health and well being of people and ecosystems are not compromised. The focus of the System is firstly, on developing the emission inventory and air dispersion modelling system, and secondly, on establishing the air quality monitoring network.

The focus is to quantify the linkage between emissions and concentrations. Emissions relate to air pollution from industrial point sources, mobile line sources and general area sources. Concentrations are the resultant air quality experienced in space and time as a result of emissions. Concentrations are influenced by meteorology, emission rates, relative distances and topography.

Air quality planning for Durban, South Africa

Monitoring network

The monitoring network are planned and will be carried out for major sources causing air pollution. The network will represent different areas – background, rural and urban, industrial and traffic – and contain both air quality and meteorology.

A innovative component of the system is the dual database, which will ensure that all the “raw” information will be maintained. If there is ever doubt regarding the integrity of the edited data, information in the raw database can be referred to.

The number of monitoring stations will consist of about 15, most of them containing meteorology due to the special topographical conditions of the area. The site construction will be starting in November.

Gearing up for implementation

The eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Cllr Obed Mlaba, stated that “The next year will produce important and meaningful work. Notably, the generation of essential environmental data and the objective characterisation of the health status of our residents in the South Durban Basin. I once again wish to reaffirm our full support for the rapid and streamlined implementation of the Multi-point Plan.”

Air quality planning for Durban, South Africa
The Air Quality System will be fully operational by the turning of the year 2004-2005.

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